The hippocampus is a key brain region for memory formation. Metabotropic glutamate type 5 receptors (mGlu5R) are strongly expressed in CA1 pyramidal neurons and fine-tune synaptic plasticity. Accordingly, mGlu5R pharmacological manipulation may represent an attractive therapeutic strategy to manage hippocampal-related neurological disorders. Here, by means of a membrane yeast two-hybrid screening, we identified contactin-associated protein 1 (Caspr1), a type I transmembrane protein member of the neurexin family, as a new mGlu5R partner. We report that mGlu5R and Caspr1 co-distribute and co-assemble both in heterologous expression systems and in rat brain. Furthermore, downregulation of Caspr1 in rat hippocampal primary cultures decreased mGlu5R-mediated signaling. Finally, silencing Caspr1 expression in the hippocampus impaired the impact of mGlu5R on spatial memory. Our results indicate that Caspr1 plays a pivotal role controlling mGlu5R function in hippocampus-dependent memory formation. Hence, this new protein-protein interaction may represent novel target for neurological disorders affecting hippocampal glutamatergic neurotransmission.
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